Arnel J. Almeda, M.D.
Academic Role: Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointment(s) and Affiliations:
Anesthesia is fulfilling to me because it involves practicing direct patient care and working with my hands during some of the most acute moments of my patients’ lives. I am proud that I can make potentially impossibly painful experiences into comfortable or even painless ones.
My road to anesthesia started early. My mother worked as an operating room nurse and I became fascinated by her stories of this world. In high school, I trained as a certified nurse assistant (CNA). Working in nursing home facilities, I formed connections with patients as they went about their daily lives. This experience afforded me the opportunity to become a state parliamentarian of a national health student organization called HOSA. My HOSA advisor then recommended me for a scholarship program to Germany. Prior to starting college at the University of California at Irvine, I spent a year in the beautiful town of Freiburg, working in a hospital and learning in a nursing program.
During college, I worked in the operating room at UC Irvine Medical Center answering phones and transporting patients. When I had time, I followed my patients into the operating suite and watched their surgeries. Although I was impressed with the surgeon’s skill, I was more intrigued by the anesthesiologist’s wide view of the procedure and ability to apply a broad base of knowledge to bring the patient through the physiological stress of surgery.
Because I went to college in my hometown of Irvine, California, I wanted to go somewhere new for medical school. I do not think that there is a major U.S. city geographically farther from Irvine than Boston. Tufts University School of Medicine seemed like just the right place. I then completed my anesthesia training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. My training there gave me the confidence to enter practice right after graduation. I stayed in Massachusetts because my wife and I now have two little ones, and my wife is from the Boston area. I cannot imagine having young children without having family connections nearby.
Prior to joining the UMass system, I had hospital appointments at Boston Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital, and Mount Auburn Hospital. My time with my colleagues there was invaluable, as I solidified my clinical skills. I also cultivated my interest in regional anesthesia and peripheral nerve blocks, becoming active with the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists, organizing workshops and lecturing on these topics.
I love working here at the Memorial campus of UMass. The variety and the acuity of the patients keep me sharp and engaged, and I enjoy practicing among peers who work hard and remain committed to providing the highest level of patient care. I hope my energy and empathy will be an asset to my patients. In Germany, one patient imparted to me the adage, “Mensch bleibt Mensch,” which, loosely translated means, “Humans are humans.” As impersonal as healthcare can be, I believe we must always appreciate the humanity, vulnerability, and strength of our patients and peers.
M.D. Tufts University, 2004
Beth Israel Deaconess, Residency in Anesthesiology, 2005-08